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  • Margaret Unruh blog: Moonshine and fresh air

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  • Whoa, wait a minute.
    That’s what I get for creating the title before I write. . .it may not be truly indicative of things to come. We’ll see. . .
    As a kid, one or the other parent would frequently insist that I “get outside for some sunshine and fresh air.” I often said the same thing to our kids. I’ve heard other parents utter this prod as well. A nudge intended to facilitate activity, to encourage the hearer to “get out and play” while the playing is good.
    Last night, I awoke—somewhere between the first sigh of sleep and the inevitable inward groan initiated, in part, by the irritating harshness of my alarm. (Perhaps the bulk of the irritation is caused by my momentary daily recollection that I can, indeed, change the tune of the dratted thing. I obviously do not remember to make the adjustment; thus, the continued exasperation.) It was stuffy indoors. A warmish September sun had heated the air, inside and out, yesterday; but as no one had been home to notice, we hadn’t opened the windows. And while the September night had remembered to cool the atmosphere directly in its command, that which was inside remained immune to refreshing chill of darkness.
    So, somewhere in the shadows, I let in the fresh air.
    And I breathed.
    Before I closed my eyes, I studied the light coming through the blinds. Most of it was artificial, the stuff of street lights and porch lights and security lights. Not much moonshine.
    In the lull before sleep, I traveled back to some camping trips of my grown-up family’s years—to the night crispness of nature’s breath when summer was almost over, to the view of the moonlit path on the water below the hill where we used to pitch our tent. I smiled, thinking: of the smoky campfires, of the calm of our sleeping children, of the yumminess of burnt, flash-fried fish.
    We’ve all grown older now in the days since we packed our sleeping bags and half the house (and the dog) to go thirteen miles to our favorite campsite. Some folks would have called it moonshine, silly foolishness, a waste of time.
    Except our frivolity isn’t always unnecessary, is it? Our romps through the play times of life totally without merit or purpose?
    For on an everyday fidgety night, many moons after the fact, we can be bidden to rest: by the beams of that moonshine and a kiss of fresh air.
    It’s Only a Dream
    This was the dream:
    Traveling along a busy multi-lane interstate highway, I carefully drove among the other cars. Sensing a break in the congestion and setting my steering wheel for straight, I climbed over the bench seat of my car into the back seat. Once my giraffe’s-neck-legs unfolded again, I situated myself at my computer and blithely tapped away at the keys of my Apple II GS. (It’s an old dream.)
    Page 2 of 2 - While I worked, I kept watch through the windshield. When I’d see bottlenecked traffic and/or a curve in the path, I’d roll myself over the seat, unroll my legs, brake for cars or maneuver the curve, reset the tire tread for full speed ahead, and repeat the sequence.
    At one point, I wasn’t quick enough on the crawl-over and nearly crashed. I came to a stop on the point between the exit and the road.
    I woke up tired.
    Multi-tasking is seen as a virtue. However, I do not recall its being listed as such on any such list I can recall. Nor is it seen as a desirable “fruit of the Spirit.” Often, my spirit is longing for the chance to do one thing. No, really, I mean it: that’s it: one thing. At a time.
    For example: I just joined the gym. I needed to; winter is coming. There’s something about the camaraderie and accountability of exercising with others. (Didn’t see that one coming, did you? I’m from the generation of uniform blue-and-blue-striped single piece gym suits. They stretched. Before Spandex—or so I thought; research indicates it was invented in the late ‘50s.)
    At any rate, the gym offers a plethora of fitness options. I’ve mentioned yoga before—but I’ve tried Zumba, too. It’s fun (as long as no one is taking pictures). But back to one thing at a time. . .
    The Y-membership now means that I have one more thing to do. When I got the class schedule and penciled in workings and weddings, cleaning and singing, writing and that occasional nap—well, I seem to be doubling up. Again.
    And, if I’ve learned little else from the past (and that car-as-a-jungle-gym dream), there is this: it is sometimes disastrous to think we can attend to the entirety of life’s synchronized assignments. And, while we have laws governing distracted driving, there is very little guidance, if any, regarding a distracted life.
    We can continue weaving in and out of the everyday “To Do” list: glancing forward and back without really paying attention to our surroundings, relying on timing and Providence to reset the route if we’re in danger of veering off the road as we’re striving to complete the impossible—while we are scrambling to do it all.
    Or we can pull ourselves over, climb over the seat, assess what’s real, and recalculate the route.
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